Since shaving my head for charity on Monday I have noticed a distinct change in not only how others perceive me but also how I feel about myself.
First of all, I am pleasantly surprised to discover I have a decently shaped head under the hair as it came off ~ which is always a bonus.
Once the clippers were silenced my family encouraged me to go and look at myself in the mirror. To say I was reluctant would be a slight understatement ~ I was terrified about seeing my reflection and what version of myself would be looking back at me. My first thoughts were “I have a pea head” and then the “OMG what have I done”. After a few moments of looking I thought that okay, it’s not really a look I would choose but it’s not as utterly awful as I expected.
When I ventured nervously out of the house ~ without a hat I noticed that I drew many looks. Children either were afraid and hid behind their mums or look curiously and started pointing at me and tugging at their mums arms to find out “why has that lady not got any hair?”
Adults gave me sideways glances and I wondered what they were thinking. Did they assume I was recovering from some medical treatment, such as chemotherapy. Was I a lesbian? The gender typical “male” in the lesbian partnership ~ what some people cruelly and offensively call the “Bulldyke” (noun: bull-dyke ~ a lesbian of masculine appearance or manner).
I remember the buzz in all the “gossip” style magazines when Britney Spears had her very tragic and public breakdown around ten years ago when she was photographed shaving her hair off. So I suppose people may look at my shaved head and wonder about the circumstances around the removal of my hair. I can see how “doing a Britney” can be cathartic, a way of ending an episode of your life and opening up a new chapter ~ a way of starting off with a clean slate and changing parts of your life you are unhappy with.
Some people just think I’m a thug. A woman in a car randomly flipped her finger at me, which prior to shaving my head had never happened before. You can tell the people who think this as they make sure they give you a very pointed wide berth with lots of sidelong looks as they do so.
When in shops I either receive a total lack of eye contact and avoidance of staff OR I get some really lovely smiles and positive body language coming my way, with offers of helping me to finding items on my shopping list.
There are some folk who ask why I have no hair and some who don’t ~ it really is fascinating, often the people in a crowd you would least expect to be supportive and encouraging are amazing and vice versa.
Also I get an awful lot of “you are so brave” ~ nope, I’m not really brave at all ~ in fact quite the opposite. I am stubborn, perhaps is my bullish stubborn streak, part of my Taurean nature, that pushes me forwards to commit to my promise no matter if I realise too late that I don’t really want to.
I am glad I did it. I wouldn’t do it again, I love my fringe to hide behind ~ I do miss it but the up side is that it was for a good cause.
Strange isn’t it? We do things we previously never imagined we would do. I am hyper aware of other people and their reactions. More likely than not misreading them because of feeling so exposed and vulnerable.
I am very aware of my age ~ when I was younger I had a buzzcut something I hadn’t even had a second thought about. I was young though, with taut skin and youth on my side. I am very conscious of my double chin.
Two days after the shave I am finding that I like being able to see my ear piercings and not having to have to “do” my hair. The girls say it’s lovely to be able to see my face instead of my usual trick of hiding behind a long fringe. I can see the tattoo at the back of my neck now too, which makes me smile.
Negative aspects are that there are members of my family who hate my shaved head and their lack of comments underlines that. I worry that at nearly 50 I am too old to carry off the look as it is very unforgiving and there is absolutely nothing you can do about that.
I don’t like wearing wigs as they are itchy and super expensive for a decent one. I love hats though and have a growing collection of the Baker Boy style, so know I can enjoy wearing my hats whilst the weather is cold to keep my poor noggin warm.
I have a few social engagements coming up ~ health depending as per. If health allows and I make these social gatherings I know I will be exceptionally nervous walking into the room and facing everyone with my new look. That though, I am sure, is perfectly normal and my paranoia will be proven to be without foundation.
Another plus and it is a VERY big plus ~ I no longer have to deal with hair wet through after menopausal hot flushes, in that respect having no hair is a massive bonus!
I do feel exposed and vulnerable yet conversely also empowered and liberated. I am glad I followed through and didn’t chicken out. The enormous bonus is that £376 has been raised for the charity SV2 ~ helping victims of sexual violence which makes me incredibly happy and that alone makes it all worth while.
Now I have no hair I decided to google some other women who have either now or in the past shaved their hair off. If they can pull it of then why the heck can’t I ~ here are just a few of the women I found who have at one time or another shaved their heads.
Charlize Theron, Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Amber Rose, Natalie Portman, Demi Moore, Jessie J, Sigourney Weaver, Grace Jones, Kristen Stewart, Toni Collett, Cynthia Nixon, Britney Spears, Jada Pinkett Smith and of course the most popular and well known woman with a shaved head or “Buzzcut” Sinead O’Connor.
I find myself absent mindedly rubbing my head, I love the feel of the stubble under my hand. I wonder how it will look as it grows back ~ how many white hairs will be found in the regrowth.
One thing is for certain ~ it is an experience all right and perhaps in hindsight I should have done this in the summer because without hair it gets a bit bloomin’ chilly about the ears when you go outside!
Looking back at my “younger day” photos I found these three pictures which, although not shaved, are exceptionally short!
To anyone who has ever wanted to try having the shaved head look I say to you ~ go for it ~ hair grows back!